We've put together this guide based on our first-hand experience and the many questions we've received about remote work and managing a remote company.
Whether you're transitioning to a fully remote team, have started dipping your toes in remote previously or have been fully remote for years we want this guide to help you improve your remote structure and process.
We will continue to update this guide as we grow, learn new things and make mistakes in order to empower others tagging along on this remote journey with us.
Initially, we found people through Upwork. When you dial up all the filters on the site, you can find great professionals. After bringing some on board, they brought friends along.
Nowadays we find people through word of mouth and places such as:
Hiring remotely has been very easy for us so far. The talent pool is much larger.
The process varies per position. We screen fairly aggressively — after initial calls, there are usually one to three more rounds of interviews depending on the position.
We try to do trials when possible. Trials are a paid, temporary contract position that help both parties figure out if there's a mutual fit.
You really have no idea what it's going to be like to work somewhere until you actually do, and you really have no idea what it's going to be like to work with someone until you actually do. Hiring is always risky for both sides, and this significantly reduces that risk.
When trials are not possible, we typically do multiple reference checks.
Onboarding is very important to us as a company. We recognize that helping people get started on the right foot through comprehensive onboarding is the first step to retaining talented team members. We're constantly working to improve our onboarding process, but these are a few of the steps we've taken so far:
We use Donut to automate the onboarding workflow and make sure we're providing a consistent experience to team members. We've built a number of things into Donut including:
We also make sure to welcome each new hire with a Shogun swag box, which includes things like t-shirts, a hooded sweatshirt, a water bottle and a wireless charger.
In addition to these general onboarding tasks, each team has their own onboarding process to help new hires get acquainted with their day-to-day responsibilities, as well as any tools they'll need to use.
No. Everyone works from home or coworking spaces. Well, everyone apart from one person who built an office in his garden beside his swimming pool!
We don't plan to start any offices. Remote is a lot easier when everyone is on the same playing field.
When you mix and match remote and in-person, it's a lot easier for information loss to occur.
We have no set hours and we have very few meetings.
The meetings we do have are deliberate and focused. Everything else is asynchronous (mostly Slack and Clubhouse) and we write a lot of things down using Notion.
Good project management is essential. This is an area we're actively improving!
The first step to achieving this goal is to hire self-motivated people who don't need to be managed.
Working remotely involves a huge amount of trust. You have to assume the best but verify by measuring results.
We don't measure hours — it's all about productivity. Some of us measure productivity using Qbserve.
One of the questions we ask people in interview is, "How do you keep yourself organized?" This is a simple-sounding but very telling question. The most productive people tend to have systems that they evolve over time.
We highly value transparency, honesty, integrity, direct communication and respect.
We recently defined three company values by asking our team what was most important to them. There was a huge overlap in the suggested values from 39 different people.
Slack is an instant messaging platform. It's our primary communication channel and we have some general rules around its usage.
We have specific naming and usage conventions around our slack channels. This makes it easier to find and search conversations, and join only those conversations relevant to you.
We use 60 different Slack integrations! Some of the top ones are described below:
It's way too easy to lose a conversation, especially when you are in a lot of channels. Here are two specific items I wish the company would implement:
Notion is a wiki tool that allows us to take meeting notes, create project outlines, set company guidelines and host information on our company and internal processes.
Notion is used as our source of truth for many aspects of our company including where we document our processes, the tools we use, team member and company information, team-specific documentation, meeting notes and much more.
It’s the permanent location for all of our important guides, policies and other information. Here are a few of the more major items we use Notion for:
Zoom is probably our secondary communication channel, behind Slack.
There are several big problems with Zoom that come up frequently.
We mostly use Zoom for meetings. Here are some tricks we use to keep them running well:
Yes! We've held off site events and/or attended conferences with team members in Tbilisi, Las Vegas, Toronto, Sao Paulo, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Bangalore and more!
Additionally, a number of team members have visited our "HQ" in San Mateo, CA. We always take them to Sushi Sam's!
No. We write a lot of things down. We take meeting notes for most meetings. We write weekly updates to the company about what's happening and there's a lot of transparency about how the company is doing.
At times, yes! You have to be comfortable being alone a lot! Remote work is not a great fit for everyone for that reason.
It's super important to have a schedule and stick to it. For example Finbarr, our CEO, has scheduled lunch breaks every day from 12-1 p.m.
One of the biggest factors in being comfortable and staying productive while working remotely is your home office setup.
We recommend having dedicated space you can come to and focus on your work for the day. Creating a dedicated space also helps you get away from work when you need even though your office and household are under the same roof.
When asked what we recommend when it comes to a desk set up we always emphasize ergonomics and a good internet connection of at least 25 mbps; we like to test our connection speeds using Fast.com. When working from home it's important to create a comfortable environment to work in so you can stay focused while working around all of the additional distractions of home life.
Finbarr's setup includes a Herman Miller Aeron chair, a motorized standing desk, an ErgoDox keyboard, and a 34-inch curved Dell monitor. For audio/video he uses a Blue Snowball microphone and a Logitech HD camera.
Greg's work set up includes a Macbook Pro 13", LG 38UC99 Monitor, Logitech Craft Wireless Keyboard, Logitech MX Master 2S Wireless Mouse, Logitech c920 Webcam and Master & Dynamic MW60 Headphones.
His gaming set up includes a PS4, Samsung 55" NU8000 TV, Durgod Hades 68 Keyboard, Logitech G900, Wireless Mouse, NXZT h510i PC Case, CPU: Intel - Core i5-6600K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor, Asus -, Z170-A ATX LGA1151 Motherboard, HyperX Fury Black 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2133 Memory, GeForce GTX 1070 8GB Card, Steelseries Siberia 800 Wireless Headphones and LG 29WK600-W 29" UltraWide Monitor.
Tiffany's home office features a salt lamp, plants and air purifier for healthy air quality, a Buddha statue, gems and other zen decor for calm, an essential oil diffuser to help with energy and moods, a light therapy lamp for health in the winter that doubles as great lighting sourcing during video calls, metal boards and cactus sticky note holder for organization of inspiration and reminders, two Mac laptops, wireless keyboard and mouse, printer and shredder, a computer stand to lift her laptop to eye level, a cushion for elbow comfort and a Herman Miller office chair.
Kalen uses a Vertagear S-Line SL4000 Racing Series Gaming Chair and a PC built with a MSI Z370 ATX Motherboard, EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC Ultra Gaming 8GB GDDR6 GPU, EVGA CLC 280 Liquid/Water CPU Cooler, RGB LED Cooling, Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR4 3600MHz Memory, EVGA SuperNOVA 850 P2 850W Fully Modular PSU, NZXT H700i Mid-Tower Computer Case, and an Intel Core i7-8700K CPU.
His A/V set up includes a, Logitech C922x Pro Stream 1080P Webcam 1080P and Blue Yeti USB Microphone.